OPPOSITES ABSTRACT

Like the art itself, this book leaves space to see and contemplate. Is this for you? Absolutely.

An exploration of abstract art inspires readers to ask what exactly is an opposite, anyway?

First, the elephant in the room: There are no elephants here, nor pigs nor pigeons, for that matter. Instead, readers find enticing acrylic-and-ink abstracts that would feel equally at home on an art museum’s walls or a child’s bedroom floor. What sets it apart as a concept book is Willem’s insistence on questioning the criteria of opposites. Instead of declaring it so, he invites readers viewing a gently curved, colorfully blobby painting to ponder, “Is this soft?” Who made that decision anyway? Some compositions feel easy to interpret, such as a “calm” pale-blue, wavelike composition contrasting with an “excited” shape- and line-filled extravaganza. Bold additions of open-ended pairs, such as the circuit-filled “mechanical” and amoebalike “organic” pairing, seem purposefully designed to elicit rich conversation. None will accomplish that more than a poignant “inclusion” and “exclusion” set, with a grid of matte primary-colored rectangles juxtaposed with an empty white square with a singular, lonely black square in the corner. Only a barely painted teal square on the opening page which “is starting” and on a final page declared “finished” as a fully painted square are utterly definitive (both statements are the only ones that end with periods), reminding readers that everything else is up to them.

Like the art itself, this book leaves space to see and contemplate. Is this for you? Absolutely. (Concept book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07097-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

I AM MONEY

An educational and uplifting foundation in financial mindsets and rules of thumb.

A walking, talking billfold of cash takes readers through the ins and outs of money.

Held together by a shiny gold clip and often accompanied by anthropomorphic coins, our narrator is a smiley, positive presence who eats pizza and rides a bike, just like us! Money explains its value as well as how to earn it (mowing lawns, selling lemonade), spend it, save it, and share it. The narrator uses clothing as a metaphor to explain different forms of money—sometimes the narrator dons “digital and crypto clothes,” though the author doesn’t elaborate on these. A similar reference to “credit card coats” is accompanied by a warning on overspending. Most commendable are reminders of readers' self-worth: Though readers are encouraged to invest in themselves, it’s made abundantly clear that money does not confer value to people. A message about earning interest is followed by a wordless page of coins and bills passing by a bank and a credit union—concepts that are a bit too advanced to describe in detail for this book’s audience. For now, tracking savings in a clear jar (not a piggy bank) is advanced enough. A guinea pig appears throughout the cheerful, textured art, making a suitably cute sidekick for the narrator.

An educational and uplifting foundation in financial mindsets and rules of thumb. (money tips) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781728271262

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

A WORLD TOGETHER

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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